Buying a house in Oklahoma is an exciting milestone, but the process can take some time. Several factors, like your financial situation, market conditions, and the local economy can affect both how long it takes you to find a home and how much it costs you.
For example, homes in Guymon are hitting the market at $240,000 and selling within 46 days — 14 days faster than the state average! — so you'll need to move quickly if you want to beat out the competition.
However, homes typically stay on the market longer in Elk City, so you'll be able to take your time and potentially find a better deal.
The more you know about the steps to buying a house and Oklahoma's current real estate trends, the more prepared you'll be to navigate this complicated process as quickly and smoothly as possible.
No matter where you are in your home buying journey, Clever's concierge team can connect you with local real estate pros who will help you purchase your Oklahoma dream home!
The best part? Clever's service is 100% free! You can meet local lenders and real estate agents with no obligation. If you don't find the perfect match, you can walk away at any time.
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Step 1: Save for a down payment
Your down payment is the initial portion of your home's purchase price that you pay at closing. Your mortgage lender will pay the remaining balance.
Typically, mortgage lenders in Oklahoma want you to contribute 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. That would be $35,676 for a $178,378 home — the typical home value in Oklahoma.
However, you have options to lower your down payment amount.
Government backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, allow you to contribute 0% and 3.5% of your home's purchase price respectively. Even conventional loans allow for down payments as low as 3-5% (though the minimum varies by lender).
Minimum Down Payment (%)
Down Payment ($)
Based on typical home values from Zillow (May 2022)
But making a down payment of less than 20% comes with some risks.
First, because you're borrowing more money, you'll have a higher monthly payment and pay more in interest over the life of your loan.
Based on a $178,378 home, the typical home value in Oklahoma (Zillow, May 2022) with a 5.50% interest rate for a 30-year loan.
Second, you may have to purchase mortgage insurance.
Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance (PMI) until your loan balance reaches 80% of the purchase price. FHA loans, on the other hand, require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of your loans.
Mortgage insurance costs around 1% of your mortgage balance annually. However, rates vary based on your down payment and credit score. Typically, your mortgage insurance payment is added to your mortgage payment each month.
VA loans don't charge mortgage insurance. Instead, you'll pay a VA loan funding fee at closing, which can range from 1.4% to 3.6% of the purchase price.
Oklahoma down payment assistance programs
Can’t afford a down payment on a home in Oklahoma?
There are several down payment assistance (DPA) programs within the state that are geared towards first-time and low-income homebuyers. Eligible buyers may be able to receive a grant or second mortgage that can help them afford closing costs or a down payment.
Here are just a few DPA resources for Oklahoma residents:
OHFA Homebuyer DPA Program
The Oklahoma Home Financing Agency (OHFA) offers its OHFA GOLD program and OHFA DREAM program to eligible homebuyers. Both programs offer 3.5% down payment assistance to repeat and first-time buyers.
To be eligible, you must have a credit score of at least 640 and not exceed household income limits and or the maximum purchase price in your region.
REI DPA Program
The non-profit organization REI Oklahoma offers a DPA program for residents across the state. Financial assistance can reach up to 5% of the total loan amount for borrowers with an FHA, VA, Freddie Mac HFA Advantage loan, or a rural development loan. Those with a Fannie Mae HFA Preferred loan may receive a 7-year forgivable second mortgage of up to 5% of the total loan amount.
To be eligible, your credit score must be at least 640, and you cannot exceed the maximum purchase price or household income limits.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD’s list of alternative programs in Oklahoma can be found here.
Step 2: Get pre-approved for a mortgage
A mortgage pre-approval letter is an offer to lend you up to a certain amount of money to purchase a home. It shows sellers that you are a serious buyer who is financially qualified to make an offer on a home.
Most sellers in Oklahoma will require pre-approval before showing you their home.
You don't have to decide on one lender right now. In fact, you should compare interest rates and pre-approval amounts from several lenders to make sure you're getting the absolute best terms when you buy your Oklahoma home.
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Get matched with a lender who can tell you how much house you can afford. To get started, where do you plan on buying?
To get a pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll fill out a mortgage application and provide details about your financial situation. They'll look at the following information to determine your mortgage pre-approval amount:
Lenders need to know that you earn enough to make your mortgage payments each month. Most lenders want your monthly housing costs to be less than 28% of your monthly income.
Lenders also consider your other debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and personal loans. They use this information to calculate your debt to income ratio (DTI) — or your total debt (including future mortgage) divided by your total income.
While some lenders will approve mortgages for buyers with DTI as high as 43%, it's best to keep your DTI under 36%.
Because of this, you might consider paying off some of your other debts before applying for a mortgage in Oklahoma.
Mortgage lenders in Oklahoma want to see that you have enough cash in the bank to cover your down payment and closing costs without completely draining your cash reserves.
While this requirement varies by lender, most want you to keep at least enough to cover two mortgage payments including insurance and taxes.
Step 3: Choose the right location
A house's neighborhood can be just as important as its layout and features. In general, you should consider the following factors when deciding which neighborhood is best for you:
What's your home buying budget?
Once you know your budget (a pre-approval letter will tell you the most you can expect to borrow), you can narrow your search to neighborhoods where homes are selling within your price range.
Also, look at past home value trends. This will give you an idea of how much your home's value could go up over the next few years. You want to choose a neighborhood that's in your budget, but could also lead to a big return when you decide to sell.
To give you an idea of how appreciation could impact what your house is worth in the future, consider these examples from three neighborhoods in Oklahoma City:
Home value appreciation in Oklahoma City
Meridian Avenue Corridor
Once you have a list of neighborhoods with homes in your budget, you should evaluate how well each one meets your personal needs and preferences. To finalize your list of target areas, consider factors like:
- School districts
- Your daily commute
- Crime rates
- Restaurants and amenities
- Transportation options
Step 4: Find a great real estate agent in Oklahoma
Your real estate agent will be your main ally during the home buying process. Besides finding and showing you properties, your agent should be an expert on buying a home in Oklahoma.
They'll help you make offers, negotiate contracts, and navigate the closing process. Plus, they can recommend other service providers like title companies and inspectors to help you buy your home in Oklahoma.
Don't rush into choosing an agent. Instead, take the time to research and interview multiple real estate agents who have experience in the neighborhoods you're interested in. you should pay attention to a realtor's:
- Years of experience
- Number of transactions in the last year (the more the better!)
- Experience in your price range
- Overall review score
- Individual reviews and complaints
Ask each of them questions about your target neighborhoods, how they prefer to communicate, and their strategy for helping you find and close on your new home. You should feel comfortable with the agent's knowledge, experience, and process before committing to an agent.
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Step 5: Start house hunting in Oklahoma
Searching for homes in Oklahoma is the fun part of the home buying process! You'll get to look at a variety of homes and discover what you really want in a home.
Prioritize your needs vs. wants when buying a home in Oklahoma
Make a list of everything you want in a home and prioritize them. At the top of the list should be the items that are most important to you. This will help you separate your "must-haves" from your "nice-to-haves."
Your agent can help you understand if your wants are realistic for your budget and favorite neighborhoods or if you need to rethink what you're looking for.
Look at current housing inventory
The timing of your house hunt in Oklahoma can have a big impact on your number of options. For example, in Oklahoma, May has historically seen the most homes for sale. Searching in this season could give you more options and a greater likelihood of finding your dream home.
On the other hand, February gives you the fewest choices in Oklahoma. Historically, there are 23.2%) fewer homes for sale than during Oklahoma's peak season.
Housing inventory in Oklahoma by season
New Listings per Month
Based on May 2022 data from Realtor.com
Step 6: Make an offer
Once you find a Oklahoma house you love, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you write a compelling offer that gives you the best shot of convincing the homeowner to sell to you.
Currently, in Oklahoma, homes stay on the market for 64 days before going under contract. However, every market goes through seasonal changes. During busier months, homes get snatched up more quickly than others.
Historically, Oklahoma homes sell fastest in April, where the average property is only on the market for 57. If your home search falls around this time, you should be prepared to move quickly and potentially make offers on several homes before yours is accepted.
On the other hand, if you buy in January, you have a bit more time to search. Homes typically stay on the market 14 days longer than Oklahoma's annual average.
Average time homes spend on market in Oklahoma
Based on May 2022 data from Realtor.com
What should your offer include?
Your real estate agent can help you decide which of these common options you should include in your offer:
- Seller concessions: You'll have to pay for most of your closing costs out of pocket when you buy a home, but you may be able to ask the seller to cover some of those costs for you. This option may allow you to offer a higher purchase price and essentially include your closing costs in your mortgage.
- Repair credits: If the home is in need of repair, you could ask for credits instead of having the seller make and pay for the repairs. The seller avoids the hassle of waiting for contractors to complete the job, and you get to oversee the repairs in the future to make sure they meet your expectations.
- Inspection contingencies: Most purchase agreements have inspection contingencies that allow you to change your offer (or back out all together) if the inspection turns up major problems. If you have a high degree of certainty about the house's condition (like if the seller can show you a recent inspection report), you can forgo this contingency to give the seller a higher sense of confidence.
- Letter to the seller: Many sellers have a personal attachment to the home. They've lived there for years and want to know the next owner will take care of the property. Writing a letter to the seller can show them how you picture your life in the house and appeal to their sentimental side.
Step 7: Inspections and appraisals
Inspections and appraisals are an opportunity for you to better evaluate the home's condition and value before officially purchasing it. You may have an opportunity after this step to renegotiate the terms of your contract with the seller if something unexpected pops up.
Home inspections in Oklahoma
Having your Oklahoma home inspected by a licensed inspector gives you peace of mind about the condition of the property before you commit thousands of dollars to purchase it.
Your inspector should check out the following parts of the property:
- Electrical system
- HVAC system
If the home has a septic system, you should also pay for a septic inspection to make sure it doesn't have any problems that wouldn't be covered in a typical home inspection.
Sellers are required by Oklahoma law to fill out a disclosure form about their property to alert prospective buyers of any known issues. However, it's possible that some problems have gone unnoticed by the seller. To make sure a home is in excellent condition before closing, homebuyers are strongly advised to conduct a few extra tests in addition to a general home inspection.
Here are a few important tests you might want to consider:
Radon testing: Radon levels in certain areas of Oklahoma can exceed safe levels, which can pose health risks to you and your family. If the seller hasn't performed a radon test in the past year, it's highly recommended to do one as soon as possible. You can order a free radon test kit from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality by filling out a form here.
Pest inspection: Some lenders require pest inspections before they'll approve a loan, but all homebuyers should consider hiring a pest inspector before closing on a home. Termites and other pests can cause structural damage to a property without the seller's knowledge, so it's best to catch potential infestations early.
Appraisals determine the value of the property. If you're using a mortgage to buy your new home, your lender will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the money that it's loaning you.
Step 8: Close on your new home!
Once you finish your inspections and your lender approves your financing, you'll be ready for closing! Closing is the process of finalizing your mortgage and transferring ownership of the property.
On closing day in Oklahoma, you'll meet at the title company to complete your paperwork and settle your closing costs.
Prepare to spend about an hour reviewing and signing several legal documents, including:
- Your final loan application
- The deed
- The mortgage promissory note
- The disclosure statements
Take your time to ensure that all the information is correct and that you fully understand everything. If anything is filled out incorrectly, it could cause problems with the title transfer or your loan application.
Once the paperwork is complete, you'll be asked to pay your closing costs. You can give the total sum you owe to your title company, and they'll take care of disbursing the funds to the proper recipients.
Buyers can generally divide their closing costs into four main categories:
- Lender fees: Fees paid to your mortgage lender for preparing your loan. These fees may also cover other costs associated with your loan, such as appraisal and survey fees.
- Title and escrow charges: Fees the title company charges for facilitating the closing process. These expenses are often split between the buyer and seller.
- Prepaid costs: Ongoing costs of homeownership that are paid up front. Lenders frequently require borrowers to pay for recurring expenses in advance, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.
- Other closing costs: Miscellaneous expenses that vary from buyer to buyer. Some miscellaneous costs can include natural disaster certification fees, pest inspection fees, or real estate attorney fees.
Buyers in Oklahoma typically pay 3-5% of the purchase price in closing costs. For a $178,400 home — the typical home value in Oklahoma — that's between $5,352 and $8,920!
Frequently asked questions
- Save for down payment
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage
- Choose your preferred Oklahoma neighborhoods
- Partner with the right real estate agent in Oklahoma
- Go house hunting
- Make a strong offer
- Inspections and appraisals
- Do a final walkthrough and close
Yes, the OHFA Gold loan is available to first-time homebuyers working with approved lenders. Eligible borrowers can receive a loan of up to 3.5% to cover closing costs or a down payment.
The home purchase price must not exceed $310,600, and household income limits also apply. Income thresholds are determined by the size of the household and which county the property is located in.